Monday, February 20, 2006

Match Point

I saw the new Woody allen film Match Point this weekend. I have been looking forward to this movie with excitement and a bit of nerves since I saw the preview a few months back. The excitement was that it was a new Woody Allen movie. And despite his fair share of misteps i recent years every once in a while he produces something really spectacular like "Everyone Says I Love You" or "Sweet and Lowdown." From the trailer this definately looked to be a different kind of Woody Allen film. A London setting, an all together darker vibe it seemed than some previous movies, it was set to be a nice change of pace.

I will try as much as possible to not give away significant parts of the plot here in teh following paragraphs. The main crux of the story is two outsiders (Scarlett Johannson and Jonathon Rhys-Myers) trying to work their way into an elite London family by marraige. Not an entirely new concept by any means. It has happened in film and life before, and will again. But of course stuff gets complicated and if you have seen the trailer or even the poster you can guess its because the two outsiders have more of an attraction to eachother than those they are hoping to wed. The story spirals from here in many different and often times unexpected directions. It might be one of Woody Allen's best films in ages, but that doesn't neccessarily meanmost enjoyable.

I have been struggling with my feelings about this movie since yesterday evening. When I mentioned above that I was worried by the dark nature of the trailer that I would not find much to like at all in these characters. A few years back I saw Closer going into the movie with high expectations. After the movie I found myself wishing i had walked out. It was one horrible deed after another done by the characters too eachother. At no point in that movie did any of the characters seem to have anythinmg other than selfish thoughts. Sex was used as a weapon. And any moment any character showed any vulnerabilty it was pounced upon by another character. At the end of that film despiye a death and numerous breakdowns by each of the characters nothing was learned. The characters went on as if nothing happened. It led you to believe that any emotions actually on display during the film were fake. To me, and perhaps life experience had come into play a little bit, I found that film to be extremely offensive. To me, none of the charcters had any redeemiong qualities and thereby the film had very little redeeming in it as well. It seemed to be one of those films that was just "art for arts sake," a film completely devoid of actual emotion. There was little "human" about it. Somehow that film has become a yardstick though when I walk into films like Match Point. When I talked about my fears going into the film the main fear was that it would walk down the same path as Closer.

I talked to my roomate briefly last night about both films. We shared much of the same feeling about Closer. I asked him why, given the subject matter, I didn't feel as terrible walking out after Match Point as I did walking out after Closer. There is definately plenty of reason to feel the same way, more than enough. But, certain, albeit small, parts of this movie seem to slightly elevate it beyond the souless feeling I had about Closer while watching it. I don't want to give away too mucvh of the plot, but if you seen Match Point and want to discuss, please leave a comment.


Jim said...

My wife really wants to go see the movie, but the concerns that you raised about the film being parallel to Closer have kept me from going. I don't mind a depressing movie every once in awhile, but infidelity movies really bug me.

scot said...

At the end of the day, even if a movie has cinematic value, if it depicts only the lowest elements of human behavior it is still unbearable. And like you I really have a problem with infidelity movies, imo, thats the worst of the worst. Amazingly this hadn't happened till probably about 18 months ago. Maybe that's part of growing up? I have no idea.

For what its worth, I didn't find it as unsettling as I did Closer, but I am unsure I would be saying that if it wasn't for my admiration of Woody Allen.